I started tennis lessons two weeks ago. This is something I have wanted to do since… well… forever. Since I was little, tennis was something I wanted to do but I never played (apart from messing around at the park here and there but never like “played”).
Growing up, putting myself out there was out of the question especially anything that revolved around sports. Overweight, awkward, and un-athletic (so I was told) I stuck to my Archie comics and Star Trek TNG in my room. But I always wished to be like the confident, commanding, tennis athletes I saw on TV and even at school. In my mind the guts it takes to step onto a court, just you, a racquet and all eyes on you was a bridge way too far for me.
Here I am years… decades later… I crossed the bridge…and it was scary. Still.
As an adult I now know I’m decently athletic -no longer the running joke of un-athleticism in my family – still scary.
I am fit now, it’s not like I am keeling over from the drills or throwing up the minute my heart rate would become slightly elevated like I would have as a kid – still scary.
And I’m surrounded by adults now, not potentially mean kids who mercilessly would tease me for my chubbiness or my glasses or my poor-fitting clothes or love of aforementioned Star Trek – still scary.
It was scary because even though I have grown up, that same story about why I can’t or shouldn’t do it is tucked in there, never confronted. The story’s impact has limited so many aspects of my life – aspects that have NOTHING to do with tennis. If I am being honest, this story about me and tennis that started when I was in elementary school grew chapter upon chapter and caused me to sit out so many things I wanted to try but never did. Isn’t that wild to think about? How many things in our lives that we accept as truth that limit instead of grow us?
I am sure at this point you get that this isn’t about tennis.
The drive to take the lessons, step onto the court in front of everyone and try something new while terrified after 30 years wasn’t some burning desire to be a late-blooming Serena Williams. God knows I am far too busy selling homes and coaching agents to ever have that kind of time (better believe lack of time is the ONLY reason lol). In all seriousness what got me on the court was curiosity about the possibility of trying on a new belief about me – if the former belief is incredibly limiting, the opposite would have to remove those limiters… right? So, what if I tried out a new story where despite it being scary I did it anyways? What if I decided I could be bad at something and still have fun doing it because me sucking at something doesn’t mean I am a horrible person that should only feel shame not joy. What if I treated and talked to myself with the same kind of compassion I do my children delighting in the experience of them over the outcome they create?
Rewriting the story – that’s why I started tennis 30 years later. Each swing of the racquet is my track-changes, my edit, a whole page torn out all the way back to those original chapters that didn’t do me justice then and don’t do me justice now.
Because all it takes is one new storyline, maybe a plot twist, to change everything for all of us.